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Bowling a dream spell, the youngster rocked Royals on the back foot with a four-wicket haul and conceding only 18 runs. Playing in his third game of the tournament, the 19-year-old took the game away from RR by dismissing four of their important batsmen.
In a brief post-match interview, Negi spoke to iplt20.com about his match-winning spell.
On bowling to Rahul Dravid, who is one of the best players of spin
My only plan was to give him a single and attack on the batsman at the other end.
On which of the four wickets does he consider to be his best
I liked the Shane Watson wicket the best; the way he got bowled.
On whether Morne Morkel’s tight spell earlier had helped him
Yes that did help. Morne Morkel had bowled a very good spell. [...]
On what had Virender Sehwag told him when he was handed the ball
Viru bhaiyya had told me that both the batsmen play well through the cover region, so try not to give them a chance to play in that area, and keep the ball back of length.
On having to wait his turn to get a game and whether he felt the pressure to perform
There was no pressure; everyone was very supportive.
On coach Eric Simons
He has worked with me lot and he has taught me a quite a few things. And the rest of the supporting staff has also worked hard with me. And our captain, Viru bhaiyya, has also supported me a lot, and because of that I could perform well.
On the specific changes he has made
TA Sekar sir has told me a lot of things about bowling, and that has helped my bowling a lot. He has got me to change my bowling action a bit, and that has helped in my bowling.
On his batting
I do bat well in the middle-order. I can bat well enough to support the batsman at the other end. I hope to perform with the bat as well. I did get to bat in one match, but [I] was run-out.
On what he has picked up from the many good batsmen in the DD ranks
I have learnt the most from Viru Bhayyia. I learn from watching the way he plays his shots.
The Rajasthan Royals have now lost two back-to-back games at what was supposed to be their fortress. The home team could not pile on enough runs to put pressure on the opposition and suffered a heavy loss.
However, a game-changing spell by Pawan Negi, that got rid of the in-form Rahane, Shane Watson, Owais Shah and Brad Hodge, put the visitors in the driver’s seat. Apart from the openers, Shreevats Goswami was the only other batsman in the RR squad to reach double-figures – he scored 18*.
Having peaked early in the competition, RR now hold the No.6 position in the points table, and will have to up their game to qualify for the playoffs. After the end of the game, RR’s wicketkeeper-batsman, Shreevats Goswami, reflected on the game while speaking to iplt20.com.
Excerpts from the brief interaction:
After opting to bat first, you got off to a good start, but lost your way in the middle overs. What went wrong?
We had a good start, but we couldn’t capitalize on the start. Losing wickets in T20 is obviously not easy. We had built a good momentum, but after that we lost two-three wickets in succession, so we lost the momentum. Though they bowled very well, the batsman too could have played better. What is your take on that?
Their bowlers did bowl well, but we could have been more sensible in the middle overs. And if we could have kept wickets in hand and worked on taking singles and batted sensibly, then it would have been better for us.
How was the wicket?
The wicket was good; the Jaipur wicket is always good. It is a batting track. [...] You can easily get a score of 160-170 on this wicket. It is a big ground, so if one side can pile on runs, then it is difficult to chase.
What would have been a par score here today?
I think 170-180 with the start that we got and on this wicket would have been a par score. This is not an easy ground to chase [on]. And we have found it difficult to chase, because it is a big ground. We could have scored [runs] more in twos and threes instead of hitting fours and sixes. [...]
Did the loss in the previous game to the same opponents have an impact today?
Not really. We could have won that match [...] with the way we were going. But still after the loss there, we came in good spirits here and wanted to win this match. But then, it didn’t go our way.
Sawai Mansing Stadium was known as RR’s fortress, but that is no longer the case. And given that the gap in the points table is increasing, what would be the plan going forward?
If we would have won the last match [against DD] it would have made a lot of things easier for us, because then we would have been on 10 points and with Pune [Warriors India] losing today we could have been on No.3 or 2 in the points table. Now we have got to win almost all the matches to qualify or maybe we can just afford to lose one match [at the most] and win the rest of them.
What would you say about your form with the bat and behind the wicket?
I have been doing good. I have no complaints about myself. [...] Looking back, I could say that in two matches, I could have done a bit better. Otherwise, I have been fine and keeping has been good.
Your team has a good combination and has won good games early on although it is said that it isn’t a star-studded side.
I don’t know why it is said that we don’t have big names. Shane Watson is a big name, Rahul Dravid is a big name, and then there is Brad Hodge and also Ajimkya Rahane. We have big names in our side. We were said to be the underdogs before the IPL  but we have done really well. We have started off well and played some of the best cricket so far in the IPL. This [loss] and the loss against RCB were the only bad losses for us. Otherwise, in all the other games, we went through [to tight finishes]. We lost on the last ball in Chennai against the Chennai Super Kings and also in Delhi against the Delhi Daredevils. Only the upset against RCB and last match, we lost by big margins. There is a small break before your next match against Kings XI Punjab. Does that help?
Yes, gap does help. There is two-day gap [and] we want to utilize it well and practice. Get the intensity going in the practice session. And then, we play the Kings in Mohali, so it would be a good contest there.